English Usage Topics > Advising Someone
There are many ways of giving someone advice.
In conversation, or in informal writing such as letters to friends, you can use 'I would', or 'I'd'.
I would try to talk to him about how you feel.
I'd buy tins of one vegetable rather than mixtures.
People often emphasize these expressions with if I were you.
If I were you, I'd just take the black one.
I should let it go if I were you.
You can also say 'You ought to...' or 'You should...'. People often say 'I think' first, in order not to sound too forceful.
You should explain this to him at the outset.
I think maybe you ought to try a different approach.
You can say to someone which course of action or choice is likely to be most successful by using the informal expression 'Your best bet is...' or '...is your best bet'.
Well, your best bet is to book online.
I think Boston's going to be your best bet.
If you want to give advice firmly, especially if you are in a position of authority, you can say 'You'd better...'. This way of giving advice can also be used as a kind way of telling someone to do something that will benefit them.
You'd better write it down.
Perhaps you'd better listen to him.
I think you'd better sit down.
When you are talking to someone you know well, you can use an imperative form.
Make sure you note that down.
Take no notice of him.
People sometimes add and followed by a good consequence of taking the advice, or or followed by a bad consequence. These structures are similar in meaning to conditional sentences.
Stay with me and you'll be okay.
Now hold onto the chain, or you'll hurt yourself.
And and or are also used like this in threats. In threats, both and and or are followed by bad consequences.
Just try – and you'll have a real fight on your hands.
Drop that gun! Drop it or I'll kill you!
Imperative forms are also used by experts to give advice: see the section on professional advice later in this entry.
A more formal and serious way of giving advice is to say 'I advise you to...'.
'What shall I do about it?' – 'I advise you to consult a doctor, Mrs Smedley.'
I strongly advise you to get professional help.
A very strong way of giving advice is to say 'You must...'.
You must tell the pupils what it is you want to do, so that they feel involved.
You must maintain control of the vehicle at all times.
You can also use 'You've got to...' or 'You have to...' with the same meaning.
If somebody makes a mistake you've got to say so.
You have to put all these things behind you.
There are other ways of giving advice which are used mainly in books, articles, and broadcasts.
One common way is to use an imperative form.
Clean one room at a time.
If you don't have a freezer, keep bread in a bread-bin.
Another way of advising that is used mainly in writing and broadcasting is to say 'It's a good idea to...'.
It's a good idea to spread your savings between several building societies.
It's a good idea to get a local estate agent to come and value your house.
Another expression that is used is 'My advice is...' or 'My advice would be...'. Again, this is used especially by professionals or experts, who have knowledge on which to base their advice.
My advice is to look at all the options before you buy.
My advice would always be: find out where local people eat, and go there.
The expression 'A word of advice' is sometimes used to introduce a piece of advice.
A word of advice – start taking your children to the dentist as soon as they get teeth.
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